eBrandgelize Digital Enlists Faith and Family Entertainment Influencer Debra Bailey of the #Hearties

Facebook Fan-Group Admin comes on board in lead up to Christmas night premiere of When Calls the Heart Christmas on Hallmark Channel

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/eBrandgelize Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency, has brought on Debra Bailey to consult on fan engagement for eBrandgelize’s family and faith-centered entertainment clients. Debra is co-founder and manager of the grassroots Facebook group Fans of Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart, Hallmark Channel’s highly successful series, starring Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing, Lori Loughlin and Jack Wagner. She also serves as Director of the nonprofit Hearties International. eBrandgelize Digital was founded by actress and producer Nicole Hansen as a turn-key web branding provider for the entertainment industry. eBrandgelize’s clients include MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television, Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition, executives from Crown Media Family Networks (parent company of Hallmark Channels) and AMBI Entertainment Group.

eBrandgelize has successfully helped clients engage fans in live Twitter chats during film and television premieres to trend and boost social ratings. Previously, eBrandgelize executive produced the location-based app game BattleKasters with Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams Studios and has designed websites for MPCA, DCDC, and Brilliant Consulting Group. They’ve also worked with fans to launch the Hearties Family Reunion fan convention.

Debra Bailey consulted with eBrandgelize during Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas programming season on fan engagement, to promote the client’s Christmas films. She represented eBrandgelize at the second Hearties Family Reunion, held in Vancouver in early December and will now be part of the social media and business development team just as MPCA’s When Calls the Heart Christmas special premieres on Hallmark Channel this Christmas Day.

“I became acquainted with Nicole Hansen through When Calls the Heart,” explained Debra Bailey “Meeting in person at the first Hearties Family Reunion, I was intrigued by her company, and how she was connecting TV shows and movies with viewers. It was powerful. The synergy between eBrandgelize Digital and their social media clients is far above any that I’ve seen, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this growing team.”

“When I began working with the Hearties, I was drawn to Debra because of her inherent knowledge of fans drawn to faith and family-friendly entertainment,” said Nicole Hansen. “As the primary admin for the Hearties Facebook page, she’s an influencer of independent women with traditional values, who are eager to have an online community to support programming they can watch with their families. I’ve sought her advice and enlisted her often in rallying fans to support various clients’ film and television content. I know that Debra will be a great asset to our company.”

About eBrandgelize Digital

eBrandgelize Digital is a boutique digital marketing and production company, integrating brands across multiple platforms through transmedia entertainment, digital content and PR. We help individuals and businesses raise their profiles through strategic alliances and sustainably promote our clients through website design, content management, online branding, product placement, publishing and engaging social media. We develop and package specialized events, feature films, TV, online content and mobile games.

About The Hearties

Hearties are devoted fans of the Hallmark Channel original series When Calls The Heart, inspired by the Canadian West book series from Janette Oke. Executive Produced by Believe Pictures and MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television, the series airs on Hallmark Channel. In January of 2016, with the support of the producers, the Hearties created and organized the “Hearties Family Reunion”, a fan convention for the members of the private Facebook group Fans of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ebrandgelize-digital-enlists-faith-and-family-entertainment-influencer-debra-bailey-of-the-hearties-300382480.html


Acknowledging Your Worth: How to Work with Social Enterprises and Non-Profits Without Becoming a Charity Case

Even a teenager can see how important it is for a working-mom to value herself.

Game Changers Nicole HansenWhen my 18-year-old son looked at the title of my #WomenGameChangers keynote the night before I was going to speak, “Acknowledging Your Worth: How to Work with Social Enterprises and Non-Profits Without Becoming a Charity Case,” he said, “Mom, that’s something you know a lot about!”

How does he know so much about how important it is for a woman to acknowledge her worth? Well this boy knows plenty. He’s seen me do anything to make his dreams come to fruition. Green Galaxy was founded eight years ago as his production company, to produce his global warming commercial Save It. He said I had to help him get it made, and I did! But after we succeeded, and his PSA was out there, people started coming to me and asking me to help them as well. The only problem was they weren’t offering me anything in return for my expertise. All of these people expected me to give to their companies and their causes what I have given to my kids: my connections, my ability to be a cheerleader and the skills to bring everything together and make dreams a reality.

Me with BoysMy 18 year old saw that I so overwhelmed, it was hard for me pay full attention to him and his autistic brother, because I was too busy trying to save the world that they care so much about. I was so busy nurturing everyone else that I had forgotten to make sure I was taking care of myself, first. Luckily, I have some amazing mentors, including men. One successful entrepreneur took me aside and told me to read the fable “The Richest Man in Babylon.” It made me realize that as an entrepreneur, and especially a social entrepreneur, you must pay yourself first and then pay everyone else. You need to put 10% off to the side, because otherwise you’ll never have anything to fall back on, nor will you be able to keep yourself from being a burden to your children once you’re too old to work.

My brother, who helps run The Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow, also taught me to take stock of my skills and tools: my visual storytelling, my gung-ho attitude and my networking abilities, and to monetize them. My tools included creating pitch presentations, doing social-media marketing, designing websites and initiating strategic partnerships, but I needed to get paid for those services. I started empowering myself to ask for my piece of the pie, charging for my time, and taking producing fees off the back-end if that’s what it took. I had a client who had huge dreams to build her brand into a transmedia universe of books, games, events, media and charitable programs. I realized that it was humanly impossible for me to do on my own. So I put a budget together and made a proposal to get the work done, and had to empower myself to ask her to pay for it, which I’ve never been very good at, and guess what? My client approved that budget and we were off to the races. I could pay myself, my expenses, my subcontractors and put that 10% aside!

Nicole Quote Meme

Finally, the most important lesson I’ve learned from one of my mentors was how to negotiate a contract for myself. When I started off my life in Hollywood, I made more money in my 20s as a working actress than most lawyers do coming out of law school. But that’s the thing: I had agents and lawyers negotiating my contracts. I just trusted their expertise, expecting that my union would take care of enforcing those contracts. But companies fail and file for bankruptcy, and I was left without any residuals to rely on. So my legal advisers taught me how to write and enforce my contracts: to be sure I only offer what I know I can deliver, and to only work once I receive a retainer upfront. This is because once I do start working, I give my clients my all! I take care of them as if they are my children and that sort of attention makes me great at what I do: building their business profile and cheering them on in every media outlet.

As women, our nature is to nurture. But as they tell you during the safety instructions on an airplane, when the plane is losing altitude and you’re traveling with a small child, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Then help the child put on their mask.” In the business world, if you pass out from lack of funding, you’ll be no good at helping your client or your contractors. You need to build a team you can depend on, but make sure your team can depend on you first. That’s how we’ve been able to build websites, build brands and build partnerships with the entertainment industry successfully for so many of our clients. Because I’m able to acknowledge my worth, my business is healthy enough to help others.

WomenGameChangers Periscope 2015-09-24 from Sustainable Business Council on Vimeo.



BattleKasters Partnership-Advisory Board: Facilitated by Green Galaxy’s Nicole Hansen

Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams Announce BattleKasters

Fantasy Illustrator Dave Dorman Creates Original Art to Promote Dynamic Spell-Casting Game for Adams’ Legends of Orkney™ Adventure Series

Orange, CA and Seattle, WA — March 24, 2015Today, Brent Friedman, founder of Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams, founder of Alane Adams Studios announced BattleKasters, a spell-casting adventure launching this spring at fancons across the U.S. The downloadable mobile game, an extension of Adams’ Norse mythology-based Legends of Orkney™ book series, turns live events into dynamic game boards, allowing questing players to collect digital trading cards and cast magic spells that literally change the state of the game for everyone playing. Fantasy illustrator Dave Dorman, best known for his Star Wars artwork, is creating original art for BattleKasters, which players of the game can win.

BattleKasters leverages Artifact Technologies’ proprietary Mixby™ platform, which uses location-aware technology to unlock rich experiences for users within range of specific hotspots where content can be acquired. For players of BattleKasters, that means discovering an array of interactive quests throughout event spaces such as fancons and other gathering places. Players who download the game are challenged to a race against time to cast the spells that will close a portal – the stonefire –between realms to prevent dangerous dark magic from seeping into the Earth realm.

“The emergence of location-based technology opens up entirely new opportunities for gaming and interactive storytelling,” said Brent Friedman, BattleKasters Lead Game Designer and Co-founder of Artifact Technologies. “We’re excited to work with a forward-thinking author like Alane, who sees the potential this platform represents to fans of her books and mobile gaming in general.”

Friedman created, wrote & produced across all transmedia platforms: working with all the major movie studios and networks, he wrote on shows such as “Dark Skies”  “Star Trek: Enterprise”  “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and the feature film “Mortal Kombat Annihilation,” which opened #1 at the US box office. Friedman founded Electric Farm Entertainment, a leading digital media company, where he created and produced four award-winning multi-platform web series, working with a range of brand partners including Sony and NBC to Microsoft and Kodak. Additionally, he has written on several high profile video games such as “Halo 4,” “Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars,” “Tales from The Borderlands” and “Empires & Allies.”

“As a storyteller, my challenge is to deliver experiences that will trigger people’s imagination in new ways,” said Adams. “BattleKasters brings my Legends of Orkney series to life at fancons and provides an innovative and immersive experience for attendees.”

BattleKasters was created by Friedman, with illustrations from Lead Artist, Jonathan Stroh. To help guide the development of BattleKasters, Adams and Artifact have assembled an advisory board made up of experts in the fields of education, gaming, publishing and transmedia. The board includes:

  • Alane Adams, author, social entrepreneur, CEO of Alane Adams Studios and founder of the Rise Up Foundation, whose philanthropy efforts focus on organizations and initiatives that help families and children.
  • Gordon Bellamy, former exec director of IGDA, with two decades of experience and leadership in the interactive entertainment industry.
  • Peter Deutschman, Chief Buddy of digital engagement authority The Buddy Group, whose career has been at the convergence of marketing, storytelling and connected technology.
  • Brent Friedman, co-founder of Artifact Technologies, award-winning creator, writer and producer, with more than 25 years of experience in entertainment across all platforms.
  • Joe Heally, accomplished producer for projects ranging from independent films to cable and broadcast network programming.
  • Mitch Lusas, entrepreneurial, award-winning creative director and producer of apps, games, transmedia experiences, and scripted projects.
  • John Nee, CEO of Cryptozoic Entertainment, a premier developer and publisher of original and licensed board games, card games, comics and trading cards.
  • Pamela Rutledge, social scientist, educator and author focused on the intersection between behavior and technology.
  • Rob Salkowitz, writer, consultant, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, faculty at the University of Washington CommLead program and expert in digital media as it relates to business, culture and entertainment.

Nicole Hansen of Green Galaxy Enterprises facilitated the partnership between Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams Studios and secured Advisory Board members. She will Executive Produce the game along with Greg Heuss, CEO and Sam Teplitsky, COO of Artifact Technologies.

Fans can get a sneak preview of BattleKasters at fancons throughout 2015. Net proceeds from the art and Legends of Orkney™ series will go toward improving literacy. The first book of the series, The Red Sun, is available for pre-order at www.AlaneAdams.com. More updates on the release of BattleKasters can be found at www.BattleKasters.com.

About Alane Adams

(Wendy) Alane Adams is a social entrepreneur, philanthropist, professor and award-winning author. After retiring from a successful business career, Adams founded the Rise Up Foundation, which focuses on creating collaborations to empower people to make lasting changes in their lives with a special emphasis on improving literacy in children. A believer in the power of transmedia storytelling, Adams founded Alane Adams Studios to create more interactive, immersive experiences for readers of her books.

About Artifact Technologies

Artifact Technologies is a Seattle-based software development company specializing in location-based technologies.  A pioneer in content-rich beacon programming and integration, Artifact Technologies partners with major event organizers, attractions and entertainment and education industry leaders to build world-class experiences. The company’s proprietary Mixby™ platform connects the physical and mobile environments, driving deeper engagement and bringing more value to the audience experience.



SAG Foundation Receives $100k for Children’s Literacy | Variety | Hollywood Reporter

Green Galaxy’s PR Collaborator Hilda Somarriba and Founder Nicole Hansen bring partnership opportunities to our client Wendy Alane Adams. This new initiative helps to enhance Rise Up Foundation’s literacy programs through the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s BookPALS program.

SAG Foundation Receives $100,000 Donation From Rise Up Foundation

JoBeth Williams, Wendy Alane Adams and Cyd Wilson

PR collaborator Hilda Somarriba initiated the partnership and was able to secure press coverage of the SAG Foundation and Rise Up Foundation partnership in the entertainment industry trades including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter!

SAG Foundation Receives $100k for Children’s Literacy
Marianne Zumberge, Variety

SAG Foundation Receives $100,000 Donation From Rise Up Foundation
Meena Jang, The Hollywood Reporter

SAG Foundation Receives $100,000 Donation From Rise Up Foundation

Nicole Hansen, Cyd Wilson, JoBeth Williams, Wendy Alane Adams and Lainie Strouse


Baywatch Creator on Indie TV: A Producer’s Guide to Avoiding the Upfront Madness|Box Office Insider

IndieWire Network

Baywatch Creator on Indie TV: A Producer’s Guide to Avoiding the Upfront Madness

Greg Bonann 2

While networks and showrunners were convening in New York this past week for the Upfronts, Box Office Insider contributor, Nicole Hansen, sat down with Gregory J. Bonann in Beverly Hills about his new indie-produced show, “SAF 3”, starring Dolf Lungren.



GB: So where the network has to spend a lot of money, let’s just talk about “Crises” (NBC); it’s a good example because they just canceled it. It’s a show where they put together a bunch of really great actors and a really expensive production, with a huge network investment. They advertised the hell out of it and now it’s gone and I think it’s “Believe” that’s gone too because network TV is so competitive, and their advertisers want to be on their hit shows.

Our show is not like that. We have a 52-week commitment guaranteed, 20 episodes on the air — that’s the model. You buy 20 episodes; you put them on the air for 52 weeks. So I’m not worried about being cancelled. No one can cancel the show. We’re on Sunday nights, 7:00 for 52 weeks. Now when that happens year after year after year like “Baywatch” did for 12 years — pretty soon people go, “Oh, it must be good.” Well maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s just spinach. But you’ve acquired a taste. Nothing is objectionable. There’s no sex, its romance. There’s no violence, its action. So you can appeal to a broad, worldwide audience in any timeslot. Noon in Japan is the toughest place because it’s family programming.  5:45 pm in the UK, you want to be there, and here, primetime Sunday night, 7:00. It’s tough; you can’t be too violent. You’ve got to be the right thing. So after you’re on the air for two or three years, product integration starts to come into play big because they see 52 weeks per year, you’re not going to get cancelled.

But now, nobody knows what “SAF 3” is, because we haven’t come out looking for money. And when people realize it’s been on the air since September, pretty soon they’ll realize it’s the only thing left they haven’t seen and everything else they have seen is reruns — so that’s when the audience comes to us.
SAF3 Cast

GB: Yes. It’s the only way to compete, and when they hear we’re doing a second year — just on that — they go, “Well it must be good”, and the truth is, it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to stay on the air.  There are a lot of really good shows that are canceled a lot because they don’t have a chance to pick up an audience or the right time-slots.


GB: We’re not spending any money on the pilot. We don’t make the pilot. The pilots have killed themselves really, because they spend arguably at least five times the money that they would spend on an episode. Now there are a lot of reasons why it costs more, but admittedly they spend three times more, the reason being is they’re hiring people one-off instead of for multiple episodes. So you’re building a set for one time, one show, instead of building the same set for 20 episodes and dividing the costs by 20.

So a pilot costs more for that reason, but it’s also that one person has written it (“SAF3”) who has maybe written it for a year, so we’ve got someone who’s been writing the scripts for 6 months, so the scripts aren’t going to compare. The director who does a network pilot is never going to direct another episode, and all the scripts are being written by a staff on a network show, and you lose your location since the pilot is never shot in the same location where you are going to end up shooting the series…so it’s a whole bad idea.

If you want an indication of what the series is going to look like, do what I do: I give you the first 10 scripts, here are the casts, here’s the production crew and here’s the executive who’s going to do it, here’s the schedule we are going to do it on. A smart executive is going to look at all that stuff and know at least as much after reading it all than he will after seeing a pilot that’s not going to resemble the series anyway.


GB: Not this advanced, but yes. Baywatch was easier because we did an NBC year. We were cancelled. So I had 22 episodes off of NBC. The most famous cancelation in history and we came back and did eleven more years. But I had 22 episodes to show people.


GB: I bought the rights back for $10 from Grant Tinker. Grant was my mentor and he had started a big company called GTG. He had just finished five years of running NBC. He had the one of the biggest companies, MTM, (you know, with Mary Tyler Moore)? They did “Lou Grant”, “Rhoda”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”; the shows he did were spectacular. Then he went to run NBC, then he went to his own company and that’s when I went to work with him.

He did “Baywatch”; he was like the “studio”. It was canceled, and even though he lost a lot of money, he didn’t like that it was canceled either. So unknown to me at the time, he was going out of business. I didn’t know it but he loved that I might be able to get it back together. So when I asked him for the show back, I expected to have to pay millions of dollars, because I know how much he had lost. And he said, “I can’t give you the show back, you have to buy it from me. Write me a check right now for $10 and you can have it back.”So I wrote him the check, which, by the way, he gave me back about ten years later; he’d never cashed it. He’d had it framed and gave it back to me on the 250th episode anniversary of “Baywatch”.  So he was a wonderful guy.  And then we took those 22 episodes around the world and people had their “notes” and told me, “We like this, we don’t like that” or “If we buy it, will you do this?” and I said, “Yeah, if you like this and buy it I will” and then they asked, “Well, don’t you have to check with somebody?” and I said, “I don’t think so. There’s no network, there’s no studio, I’m going to do this myself.”  And they said, “Oh, okay and you’ll deliver these episodes? “And I said, “Yes”, so I needed to bond it and get a bank. You see the studio is the bank and the network is the distributor. That’s really all they are, they’re really no more than that so if you can do your own banking — which I do at City National Bank — and you can do your own distribution, which I can do through independent distributors, what do you need to gamble with a studio for?


Greg Bonann on SAF 3crop topGB: Yes! I only have me, so it’s a great model. But you can see how hard it is. So if I label myself as the “David against the Goliath” it really is a true concept. But “Baywatch” did not make all that much money. It just did not cost that much money because we didn’t have to pay anybody off. So the net proceeds to us were more than any show in history, because we owed no one any money. So when it was all over, we realized that’s what this model is built on. If we actually fail in this model, no one will lose money. If we succeed in this model, a lot of people will make money because I don’t own it all, but I give pieces away to a lot of people. Because why not?

So that’s the way I get people to come onboard and work for less money. Or, I give them opportunity. Like our best editor is one of the best editors in Hollywood; he does all the pilots, he does everything but he can’t get anybody to give him a chance to direct. Nobody. So he’s a director and he’s spectacular, and I just do the same thing now with a lot of people who want a shot because I can’t afford to go buy really expensive people so I look for young talent or older talent that wants to move on and grow. So that’s how you can compete with the networks; you don’t have to pay somebody an enormous amount if you’re giving them an opportunity that they’ve been dying to get for a really, really long time, and you treat them fair with respect and you’re done. Even if we end up in South Africa.


GB: Here’s a good lesson. Maybe this is the business lesson for us all. I’m an American born and bred. I’ve taken a lot of shows all around the world. I spent 10 years in documentaries and I’ve been making shows in North Africa and Saudi Arabia. I’ve been everywhere. “Baywatch” was the first thing that I’ve done here and I really liked it. So when I couldn’t afford to keep it (“SAF3”) in L.A. because of the unions — the Writers Guild the Directors Guild the Screen Actors Guild the IA and the teamsters — I don’t want to leave anybody out, they’re all at fault, equally at fault…

When I realized that it was an absolutely ridiculous scenario here, I went to North Carolina, and North Carolina has a rebate and a bunch of really great people. Great people here (in L.A.) too. Just not willing to change. And they have to change. You have to look it up but there were 28 pilots shot last year and there was something like only two of them shot here in L.A. Something’s wrong.


GB: No. It’s a joke. It’s the wrong bill. If they want to pass a bill in California, just go use North Carolina’s or Florida’s or Alabama’s or Louisiana’s or New York’s or Minnesota’s.  They’re all great bills. Read our bill and read their bills, HUGE difference.


GB: Yes! The two bills that California and New York have don’t even resemble each other. One is black and one is white. One is smart and one is dumb.NH: BUT YOU CAN’T SHOOT A BEACH SHOW IN NEW YORK. SO WHAT HAPPENED IN NORTH CAROLINA WITH YOUR SHOW?

GB: Well we were all ready to shoot in North Carolina and they were all ready to help, but the unions there were pretty strong in flexing their muscles. And when I left town I got a letter from one of the unions stating, “We understand that you’re getting a rebate for coming here — 25% — it’s very well known, but we want half of your rebate back.” So I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t afford to do it. And, they were flexing their muscles and no network, no studio small fry guy who was in town there. They basically kicked me out. So I went to South Africa. I had met a really great bunch of guys in North Carolina who were doing another show there, and they were helping me out and showing me the ropes and how they do things, and we’re all from L.A. but were working in North Carolina. Well those guys ended up moving to South Africa this year. Guess which show they’re on? “Homeland”. So “Homeland” is now moving from North Carolina to South Africa.  So it’s very simple math; you look around and see how far your dollar goes.

I don’t think anybody likes spending more money than they have to spend. Even if it’s in America. So we went to South Africa and this is the lesson: they’re spectacular. The crews are as good or better than Americans. They’re as smart or smarter than Americans. So it’s not like we’re losing anything.  We might even be upping a little.


GB: Absolutely. We are entitled here. We think we deserve the business. They don’t think they’ll be as good in South Africa. But guess what? I’ll probably never be back. So the lesson is, “Don’t let business go because that business may never be back.”  And other people may follow that person that left and you may end up with a whole business model that it turns out is now basically gone. Now I find that fascinating just from a raw business point of view.


GB: Oh yeah, they could end up being on Netflix. Yes that’s a real wave of the future. And I know that content is important so producing shows that have value to see over and over again will always have significant value. That’s an absolute area that we are open to for sale.
baywatch girls

GB: A movie is in the works but you can scoop this, there will probably be another series. You’re the first person I’ve told that to. We’re probably going to do another series, before the movie. Which would most likely take that movie off the table, because nobody wants to do the movie when a series is already on the table…which for streaming would make the old “Baywatch” series way more valuable.

Written by:

By Nicole Hansen for Box Office Insider on IndieWIRE


Power in Pink

Originally posted at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angelesdb897-pinkhardhatThree years ago, I was recently divorced, had just sold my own home at a massive financial loss, and was renting for the first time in 14 years. That’s when my friend and fellow single mom Eda Benjakul invited me to a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (HFH GLA) fundraiser. I went, hoping it might take my mind off my own troubles. I was first taken in with the positive spirits of leaders Erin Rank and Alison Treleaven, and knew I wanted to be involved. When I heard from the single mom recipients, who dreamed of owning a home for the first time, I was humbled. I hadn’t realized that instead of being given homes, they had to help build their own house as well as build for others in need. The Habitat philosophy of “teach a [woman] to fish” was empowering them to make their home worth working for, and they were paying the mortgages too, something I had since been unable to do for myself.

A few months later, I was invited to participate in a Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity (HFHFH) “Power Women Power Tools” event, and to be honest, I was terrified. I had supervised the design and building of my dream home when I was married, but that was the easy work of picking out faucets, hinges, tiles and doors. I had never hammered in any nails or sawed any wood; that was left to the construction guys. My own husband didn’t know how to use a power drill to hang the curtain rods. I had seen firsthand how precise each cut of wood must be to make the house sturdy and how dangerous a construction site can be. I wondered: how was I going to put on a hard hat and operate power tools? What if I screwed up, sawed off a finger or swung a hammer and accidentally hit someone? I’m known for being clumsy. But I remembered that these homeowners were building houses for themselves and others without any experience either. So I mustered up my courage and went for it.

(l-r) Carey Usher, Nicole Hansen and Eda Benjakul

On the day of the build, I rounded up my then 10 and 12-year-old boys to come with me. Believe it or not, these Habitat people had thought of everything when it came to putting power tools in the hands of moms, even babysitting. My boys complained the whole way down to the site. “Can’t we just stay home and play video games instead?” But then we got there, and during the meal before we started building, two gentlemen from the HFHFH board got up to speak. One was Tom Shadyac, the director of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which was one of my youngest son’s favorite movies. He made the boys laugh and psyched them up. The other was screenwriter and director Randall Wallace, an HFHFH founder, who introduced the women whose homes we were building that day. My older son, who wants to write and direct stories that move people, was himself moved by Randall’s mission to serve. As the mothers spoke of how much it meant to them and their children, my kids finally got it. They happily went off to the kid’s tent and didn’t make another peep.

I put on both my pink T-shirt and pink hard hat to scurry off with my team. First, construction supervisors briefed us on how to measure wood, use the power saw, which pieces go vertically in a door frame and where to put the nails. I tried not to panic as I feared I wasn’t strong enough or man enough for this task, but then I turned and saw the woman we were building for. I found my resolve, so I operated the power saw and actually used a nail gun! If we messed something up? No problem. Nothing went to waste; it was recycled or reused elsewhere. I was feeling pretty darn macho after a while. After we framed a few windows, we got to the plywood, and it was starting to look like an actual house. As the walls went up, the construction crew handed us all sharpies to sign our well wishes to the future occupants. I found this part to be the most moving of all. Even when covered by paint, our messages of love would always remain in this home with the family.

When it was time to leave, I walked by all the women I knew on the other teams who were working 6f9cc-habitatjoyand laughing together, and I felt quite satisfied. We actually had fun challenging ourselves and delighted in getting to know the homeowners. I went to the kid’s tent and found my boys didn’t want to leave. Smaller kids were surrounding them as they supervised the building of toys and kid’s furniture for the new home’s children. The babysitters told me that my boys were natural leaders. When we started to head out, the youngsters trailed behind them. Were they really the same boys who had been complaining the whole way there? On the ride home to our modest rental house, my kids told me how proud they were of me for helping those families. Tears streamed from my eyes. I was proud of them too and grateful that we had a roof over our heads, by whatever means we had.

I have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity ever since, helping to build new homes for these incredible and inspiring single moms that I have the utmost respect for. They have stepped up to the challenge of owning their own homes, by taking an active stake in their construction and responsibility of ownership. By working together, both the builders and recipients each share in a very rewarding experience. That’s why each year, you’ll find me revving up the table saw with a little more confidence, as we enthusiastically challenge ourselves with power tools to be empowered women.

Video of Nicole at her first Power Women, Power Tools in 2010


Green Salon Series Presented By Breathe L.A.

Originally published in Green Blog Network GBN

When the Green Blog Network asked me to be a panelist for the Breathe LA Salon “AB 32.0 and the Rise of Green Digital Media” and blog about it on The Green Blog Network, I was reluctant. Ever since my son Nikos directed the global warming PSA, Save It, I’ve been thrown into a world of “green” issues. Many times I feel ill equipped to participate, as if I’m the student and everyone else around me are the experts—including my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in Boulder, Colorado! Nothing could be more “green” than the granola Disneyland of my youth. But since coming to California twenty years ago, being ecological has gone from something the “Earth Muffins” of Boulder would do to actually becoming state laws. Such is the case with California’s AB 32.


AB 32 – Getting The Word Out

Stephanie Mullen, the Senior Field Representative to State Senator Fran Pavley made the opening remarks, stating that Senator Pavley authored AB 32 to give the California Air Resources Board authority to bring emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. Though the law was enacted years ago, I was surprised to hear that it has not yet been implemented. She stated that we need to use resources more effectively and are looking for a strong, green economy in California. The moderator, Ray Gonzales, a former KTLA personality, brought up the fact that there is a lot of opposition to the law because of its shorthand as “the global warming law.” I believe he has a point—so how does the green social media reach those who don’t believe in global warming so that they will be less opposed to something that is basically based on common sense?
Common Sense Approach To Information Dissemination
The first panelist, Jennifer Gooding, is the LA Ambassador to EcoTuesday. She brought up the point that people’s initial hesitation arises from a disconnection to the world that can be remedied by social media. She believes that we need a forum to connect, and she has been described as that connector. We often get a bunch of information, are overwhelmed, but are not connected. That’s the benefit of social media when it comes to getting the message out there, since the vast majority of people did not know what AB 32 is. We’re failing by not having common people understand the basics.
Panelist Siel Ju is the Green LA Girl, and has appeared on outlets including NPR and NBC, among many others. She has a Ph.D in creative writing and literature but is now devoted to blogging about environmental issues. She noted that AB 32 is not a familiar term to most people. It reminded her of the battle with rBGH, which makes cows produce more milk but also causes birth defects. We must give people more information and not just boil it down to “Ban rBGH!” (or “Save AB 32!”) Whether it be eating locally produced food or riding the subway, we should connect AB 32 to things people already desire. Moreover, we must use social media for a conversation to make connections.

Panelist Josh Tickell, director of Fuel, stressed that there is power of media in environmental issues. Stepping back from the fray, the long-term objectives of AB 32 are a breakthrough and so are its emissions cuts. The Fuel film is digital media designed to have an effect. They didn’t want the result to just end in rallying efforts, but rather to “shift the energy needle” in this country. He wanted a campaign with 10 goals that people could choose from as they matched their own. A big topic for Josh is fuel made from algae, and he observed that a lot of food energy is going unused. He was able to get a meeting with the Department of Energy and to start a campaign for algae. The meeting turned into a shouting match with great disagreement on the department’s side. In the end, through the social, objective based digital and social media, there is significant investment and growing, with already $100 million being spent on algae lobbying. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can order a million solar roofs, and the next campaign should be a million green cars. What we need, according to Josh, is a broad perspective.

Save It
Before I spoke, I shared my answer to the global warming messaging through digital media and showed my son’s 1Sky PSA, Save It (later endorsed by Global Green and Greenpeace). The shocker was that people wrote hate messages on YouTube where it premiered as Take Part’s first video release, calling me an uninformed hippie that has brainwashed my kids, and some who even said my son was “stupid.” Ironically, my sons both have developmental disorders that I was warned by the EPA they would have, as a result of environmental toxins. With what my children have to go through to be educated in special needs schools, at the expense of the government, is why it matters to all of us. Framing the discussion as a human health issue is much less controversial than global warming and we can use social media to educate people about asthma, autism, cancer and numerous other disorders that are exacerbated by or a direct cause of the toxins we are responsible for trying to control. So Earth Muffin or not, the real cost of paying for our health will far outweigh the cost of converting to cleaner and greener technologies in the long run. That’s how we should use social media to educate the masses to the importance of actuallyimplementing AB 32.
Bio: Nicole organized and produced the first Renewable Energy Conference and Awards Gala at the United Nations sponsored by the Honduran Permanent Mission to the UN with notable speakers and honorees such as Dr. Arthur Nozik of NREL, Dr. Daniel Nocera of MIT as well as Billionaire John Paul DeJoria. She was a featured speaker alongside producer Marshall Herskovitz for the 2009 Green Girls Holiday Event advocating publicly for the use of renewable energy technologies. 


Origin Oil, Launch Event

Event Coordination

After Riggs Eckelberry of Origin Oil participated as an invited panelist at the Renewable Energy Conference and Awards Gala at the UN he recalled GGE’s Nicole Hansen as the “Ghost in the Machine” that kept the day running smoothly in spite of all the guests, speakers, sponsors, participants and agendas. So when time came to launch his own company, he called on Nicole and her team to assist in planning the course of the event and coordinating her personal list of celebrities and High Net Worth VIP’s to raise awareness about the fledgling company. Nicole even suggested the event have it’s own themed cocktail, hence Origin was able to prove that their algae not only could fuel our future, but launch an entire new drink, Algae Martinis! They were a huge hit.


Riggs Eckelberry CEO, OriginOil Inc.

Nicole is a barn-stormin’ networkin’ dynamo with GREAT sense of what will fly! Her friends trust her and she is also a heck of a lot of fun to be around. Go Nicole!


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